Saturday, March 19, 2011

Interlok row more than just about 'pariah'

(Malaysiakini) Members from the education ministry's panel (below) to review the novel 'Interlok' say that apart from the passages referring to the term 'pariah' that have caused offence, they have found others that they claim to be “misleading” and “humiliating” to the Indian community.

According to the list of 67 recommended amendments to the novel tabled at the last meeting of the panel formed by the education ministry to review the novel's use as a Form 5 textbook, amongst these are passages touching on Hindu gods and rituals.

NONEOne example they cited was the depiction of the marriage ceremony between Manian and Malini (pages 227 and 228 of the student's edition) that described the bride and groom on a dais decorated with mango leaves, that the author described “to be linked to Kaman, the Hindu god of love”.

They cited another passage that they called culturally misleading, in the section describing a prayer to the god Palikai after the ritual of Ankurarppanam, that the author Abdullah Hussain had described as a worshipping ceremony performed with a ceramic urn filled with the shoots of nine different grains.

The panellists' annotation read, “(With regard to) Facts and culture. Avoid giving information that are misleading,” to explain why they recommended the names of the Hindu deities in the related passages to be removed.

However, the panellists' recommendations, that Malaysiakini acquired from an ethnic Indian panel member Uthaya Sankar, did not elaborate why they found those passages misleading.

'Bumiputera' term alien to 1910

It is understood that Uthaya and two other Indian panellist were invited to the panel as representatives of the Indian community, and tasked with rooting out elements that are sensitive to the Indians.

NONETheir recommendations were among 100 that were proposed, some also touching on 'Book 1' and 'Book 2' of the novel that described how the Malays and Chinese lived in the times before independence.

The other Indian panellist were Aminuddin Baki Global Education Centre director NS Rajendran (right) and former education ministry officer G Krishnabahawan (below).

The trio also pointed out another passage that they claim to be “an embarrassing factual error”, in referring to the Indian cracker papadam as “papadom”, that they says is a British term.

Others parts of the novel singled out by the three are what they described as  attempts to make moral and religious assertions, such as the passage that reads “tuak (alcohol) is prohibited by the religion” and depictions of Maniam praying.

NONEThe 12-page proposed amendments also argued that it is improbable that the novel's character Maniam was from the pariah caste in India, as it is inconsistent with the character's life as depicted in the novel.

As an example, they point out that in the novel Maniam had travelled to Tanah Melayu out of his own volition, something they said a true member of the pariah caste at the time would not have had the freedom to do. 

Amongst the other recommendations are to:
  • Replace the word 'bumiputera' with 'residents' as the concept did not yet exist in 1910, the year the novel is set in
  • Remove the words 'Brahma caste' as it is an erroneous rendition of the term 'Brahmin'
  • Remove the words “chew betel leaves like a cow”
  • Remove the words “dark-skinned” as a reference to Indians in the novel
  • Remove the words “anjing orang putih” (dog of the Englishmen) used in reference to an Indian character
In their conclusion the three ethnic Indian members reminded the panel, without going into specifics, that they have to ensure that the textbook blurb - about how the story contains "values of 1Malaysia" - remains "a dignified blurb and not a blatant political propaganda tool”.

PSM Indian Sungai Siput MP’s damage control for UMNO “ethnic cleansing” of Bukit Jalil Indian plantation village, hindu temple, hindu cemetery and Tamil school. Indian elite, P.R MP’s and Malaysian Civil Society endorsing UMNO racism against Indian poor

Last Tuesday (15/3/2011) the 150 year old Bukit Jalil Estate was slated for “ethnic cleansing” of the last Indian plantation village in Kuala Lumpur of their homes, Hindu Temple, Hindu Cemetery and their Tamil school by the racist UMNO Junta.

But this Sungai Siput Indian MP like his 10 other fellow Indian P.R MP’s almost all the Indian elite are ever so over conscious in not wanting to be seen to be pro-Indian let alone risk being labelled an Indian racist. Instead they prefer to be identified as the so called “multi racial Indians”. Minority Complex Syndrome? Inferiority Complex Syndrome? To us while it may be their right as to what stand they take, they are in a state of denial which is made worse by PSM and the other PKR, DAP, and PAS Indian mandores trying to siphon off and erode further whatever little Indian support away from the serious Indian poor concerns to the “multi-racial” Orang Asli, Malay and Chinese concerns which in any event is getting more than their fair share of attention anyway. To the contrary direct there is almost zero effort by PSM and the other PKR, DAP and PAS to get Malay, Chinese and Indian elite support for the Indian poor concerns. What more when neither PKR, DAP or PAS have the sense of justice to seriously challenge UMNO racism against especially the Indian poor, who are by far the worst effected by UMNO racism.

That morning as always the PSM’s sole MP good doctor but in his typical state of denial and pseudo “multi racial Indian” mindset refused to call the racist UMNO spade an UMNO spade. This Indian MP, almost all the Indian elite, PSM, PKR, DAP, PAS, NGO’s etc will speak up on just about every other Malaysian communities concern except on UMNO’s gross act of racism targeted against the Indian poor by virtue of them being the softest targets and in UMNO preserving the Indian poor and creating the future Indian poor.

In his address at Bukit Jalil Estate this MP said that not only are the victims of the poor and homeless merely the Indians but also the Orang Asli who were only given a mere two(2) acre land and their ancestral land was taken away by the government. (Note: We have documented media reports of ten(10) acres of land granted to the Perak Orang Asli by the previous P.R Perak Government, 10 acre Felda Scheme land in Pulau Gaya for the Sabah natives etc and scores of other land ownership schemes for the poor Orang Asli, Kadazan,Iban and Malays). Pray tell us of one such land scheme for the Indian poor, Mr.Y.B. M.P. for Sungai Siput? So how are the Orang Asli worst off than the Indian poor? Going by this, this MP has refused to also champion that in the circumstances the 41 Bukit Jalil settlers should accordingly be granted 82 acres of land but the government has refused to grant them even the total four(4) acres plot that they are asking for to rebuild their homes.

Where is the PSM sense of justice ie four acres for the 41 Bukit Jalil Indian families and the denial of two acres of land to each and every Orang Asli family and the impression created that the Orang Asli are worse off. We have media reports of Indian poor being unable to even pay the RM 124.00 monthly rentals and water bills and are locked out of even their low cost flats and end up squatting in family and friends homes, becoming new squatters or thrown on to the streets. And this is what is most likely going to happen to Bukit Jalil ex plantation workers who are already in their golden years..

It did not come naturally. Only after our suggestion made through the Bukit Jalil villagers an Emergency Motion was filed in Parliament. To show sincerity why not a public forum or public protests on the “ethnic cleansing” of Bukit Jalil Estate their hindu temple, hindu cemetery and their Tamil school. Had it been an Orang Asli, Malay Village or a Chinese New Village, it would have taken a different dimension as it appeals to the 90% political gallery. The bottom line is political expediency, political power and what appeals to the 90% Malay, Natives and Chinese majority that matters. Where is the sense of Justice?

This “multiracial Indian” PSM MP said in his speech that there are also poor Malays and poor Chinese. We are tempted to add on that there are also poor Jews! This M.P. is quite fortunate as he is “not alone”. He like almost all the Indian elite and the Pakatan Rakyat MP’s by false pretences create the impression that for every Indian poor suffering there is an equal number of suffering poor Chinese, Malay, Orang Asli, Iban and Kadazan. This Indian elite “multiracial” mindset is designed to dilute and divert away from the very real day to day serious and critical Indian problems perpetuated under UMNO’s racist agenda against the Indian poor as is documented and reported on a day to day basis in

But to PSM, Indian elite, P.R and the Malaysian Civil Society they rather play to their 90% majoritarian Malay, Natives and Chinese political gallery which is of the utmost and paramount importance to them. Their not acting in the public interest, irrespective of the gravity and level of seriousness of the Indian poor concerns if not for their selfish political survival which is plain and obvious. And never mind the at least 70% Indians who are poor and hardcore poor “kena nyaya” on a day to day basis by the racist UMNO junta. And despite the backdrop of our estimate of a mere 1% of the Chinese being poor and the 99% of the remaining 4% (Malays) still living of in poverty (NST 16/7/10 at page 22) whose problems are being aggressively addressed by the racist UMNO and almost always at the expense of the Indian poor. And despite the fact that there is a whole Department with a multi-million Ringgit budget to address the Orang Asli poor concerns. And despite the fact that the Kadazan poor having 25 Members of Parliament and the whole Sabah State Government to care for their interests and the Iban poor having 31 Members of Parliament and the whole Sarawak State Government to care for them. And despite the fact that the Malay Muslim poor having the UMNO controlled Malaysian government to address their concerns. But who speaks for the Indian poor? PKR? DAP? PAS? PSM? NGO’s? BAR COUNCIL? Malaysian Civil Society? Anwar Ibrahim? Karpal Singh? Lim Kit Siang? Hadi Awang? Certainly not UMNO, MIC or BN!

And this PSM MP refuses to concede that the poor Indians are poorer then the poor Orang Asli, Malay, Kadazan, Iban and Chinese who all at least have their traditional villages and their ancestral land and their community support as their social safety net. Even the poor Chinese have their 507 Chinese New Villages nationwide. Why? Even the poor Indian worker from Tamil Nadu, Myanmar or Bangladesh has a village to go back to when he goes back to his country at the end of the day. To the contrary, almost all Indians in Malaysia do not have a village as their social safety net. We may have odd village named Kampong Muniandy, Kampong Kasipillai etc, but almost all of them are deemed squatters as the titles were never issued to them unlike for the Malay, Chinese Orang asli, Iban and Kadazan villages.

A poor Orang Asli, or poor Malay, Kadazan or Iban can open up as much forest or jungle land as he wants to engage in agriculture, livestock breeding, fish farming etc for upward mobility opportunities but which option is segregated and excluded to the Indian poor. It does not matter to this Sungai Siput MP, Indian elite, P.R MP’s or the Malaysian Civil Society that the only way out of misery for almost all of these Indian poor is to contemplate if not actually commit suicide out of sheer hopelessness. So much so that the Indian suicide rate arising out of poverty is 600% higher than in the Malay community. But for the Indian elite the so called “multi racialism” prevails and when you point to this level of UMNO racism specifically targeted against the Indian poor who happen to be the softest target, even Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim accuses Hindraf and HRP as being racist. Which to us is a very shrewd political strategy in diluting and diverting away from a very real and serious issue of UMNO’s state sponsored racism against the Indian poor to preserve the Indian poor and to create the future Indian poor. But otherwise they preach multi-racialism.

This elite “multi racial” Indian mindset P.R, NGO’s and the race biased print and electronic media has today definitely contributed to the current critical state of the Indian poor mostly by omission, notwithstanding the fact that UMNO is the real culprit and the real perpetrator by commission.

And the previously genuine activist turned Indian politician mandore Secretary General of PSM while addressing the Indian poor at Bukit Jalil Estate said that not only hindu temples are being demolished but also suraus, citing the Kampong Berembang surau demolished some five years ago or so. He too is doing damage control for the racist and religious supremacist UMNO by giving the false impression that for every hindu temple demolished there is an equal number of suraus and masjids demolished. This is far from the truth. But this PSM Indian Mandore has refused to reveal that by official statistics revealed by the Selangor Menteri Besar in 2008, in every ten days one hindu temple is being demolished in Selangor alone or one hindu temple being demolished every week nationwide in Malaysia. This was revealed at the Selangor State Assembly where PSM also happens to have a state Assemblyman representative. But he would not mention that the last surau demolished was some five years ago or so. And he refused to reveal the whole truth that this surau was actually replaced with a far bigger, more beautiful and fully equipped surau which was fully funded by the UMNO government. Pseudo “Multi racialism” gets to be the order of the day in the a la Malay-sian civil society, but where the Indian poor are segregated and excluded.

Unlike in the Western Civil Societies where the Whiteman Christians bend backwards to champion and protect the interests of the minority blacks, Asians, Indians, Hispanics etc. Even the 85% Hindu majority India has a sense of justice for their 12% Muslim minority. But in Malaysia the majority Malays, the economically powerful Chinese and the Indian elite all bend backwards to largely champion the Malay Natives and Chinese majoratirian interest vis a vis the 90% political gallery.

Teoh Beng Hock and Aminulrasyid being the latest and classical examples. Hundreds of Muniandys, Kuppusamys and Ramasamys had been killed by police shooting and in police lockups which we have recorded in last 20 years. But just because their names were not Teoh Beng Hock or Aminulrasyid they did not get the level of attention media coverage, Parliamentary Emergency Motions, Royal Commission of Enquiry or justice the Malay and Chinese victims got. P.Gunasegaran was killed at the Sentul Police Station on the very same day Teoh Beng Hock was. But almost all of the Malaysian “civil society” has never heard of him. Why? A la Malay-sian civil society! Well this is Malaysia’s brand of civil society, fairness and sense of justice.

To this MP and the Indian elite, we quote a Tamil proverb that if you cannot help (in the Indian cause of the poor) for any reason you should do no harm. Please do not further dilute, divert, harm or damage the cause of the Indian poor. They are already about at their lowest ebb and “scrapping the barrel” so to speak. Thus our Race against Racism.


Pembentangan kepada Presiden MIC

By Uthaya Shankar,

Pada jam 10:30 pagi, 18 Mac 2011, Uthaya Sankar SB dan G Krishnabahawan memenuhi undangan untuk bertemu Presiden MIC di ibu pejabat MIC dan membentangkan apa yang sebenarnya berlaku semasa perjumpaan di Aras 3, Menara Parlimen pada 16 Mac 2011.
Pertemuan ini adalah untuk “membentangkan” apa yang berlaku pada 16 Mac 2011 dan tidak ada apa-apa kaitan dengan sebarang usaha “memujuk” atau “kekal dalam Panel Bebas”.
Butir lengkap berkaitan apa-apa yang dibentangkan boleh dibaca DI SINI.
Tiada sebarang perubahan pada pendirian Dr Rajendran, Krishnabahawan dan Uthaya Sankar SB selepas apa yang berlaku pada 16 Mac 2011.
Kami bertiga berpegang pada keputusan pindaan yang telah diperakukan secara konsensus oleh Panel Bebas pada 4 Mac 2011. Sekiranya pindaan tidak dilakukan seperti diperakukan, maka novel Interlok edisi murid perlu dikeluarkan terus; seperti yang sudah dinyatakan bersama-sama senarai pindaan yang sudah diperakukan itu.
Perkembangan dan kenyataan rasmi akan dimuatkan di blog ini dari semasa ke semasa mengikut keperluan.

Hindraf human chain blocking police arrest @ Simpang ampat, Penang 20/2/2011.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC STATEMENT: Malaysia’s crackdown on anti-racism protesters flouts freedom of association


AI Index: ASA 28/001/2011
18 March 2011
Malaysia’s crackdown on anti-racism protesters flouts freedom of association
The Malaysian government’s prosecution of 54 anti-racism protestors violates freedom of association and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said today.
On 4 April, hearings begin for participants in a peaceful rally against racial discrimination, held by Hindraf Makkal Sakthi and its affiliated Human Rights Party in Kuala Lumpur on 27 February.
Hindraf, a nongovernmental organization which advocates for equal rights for Malaysians of Indian origin, was banned as an “unlawful society” in 2008 under the Societies Act.
P. Ramesh, the national secretary of Hindraf, and five others are scheduled to appear in magistrates’ court in Ipoh. They have been charged with being members of an “unlawful society” under Section 43 of the Societies Act. If convicted, they face up to three years in prison and a fine of 5,000 ringgit (US$1,600).
The 1966 Societies Act gives the Home Minister broad powers to declare an organization illegal. It also requires that all organizations register with the authorities, which subordinates freedom of association to government consent. This infringes the right to freedom of association, enshrined in Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The authorities have also charged P. Ramesh under Section 47 of the Societies Act for possessing banners and documents furthering the cause of an outlawed organization. If convicted on this charge, he could face a penalty of two years in prison and a 5,000 ringgit fine. Amnesty International is concerned that this broad provision infringes freedom of expression.
Amnesty International urged the Malaysian Parliament to amend the Societies Act to bring it in line with international human rights standards on freedom of association.
Public Document
International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW,
Amnesty Internatiional 54 arrest

Segregation of 40 Tamil school students denied place in Malay Muslim majority nearby Secondary school.

But the UMNO Education Ministry tells them to go 10 km away. And this has been going on for over the last 6 years under UMNO’s racist and religious extremist policies.

(See Sinar Harian, 06/12/2010 at page S4)